clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2020 ACC FB Schedule: Bye Analysis

which teams benefit, which are disadvantaged by the schedule?

North Carolina State v Wake Forest
Will ACC teams play on a level field in 2020?
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

When the ACC came up with the 2020 football schedule version 2.0, every team was supposed to get two bye weeks while playing an 11-game season. However, now some non-conference cancellations have, in effect, resulted in extra byes for certain teams which may end up playing 10 games instead of 11. This of course creates an non-level playing field, but the question remains which teams benefit?

To answer that, let’s first take a look at the byes as they stand today:

Which opponents each team plays after its byes

Has Byes Before� Opponent1 Opponent2 Opponent3
Has Byes Before� Opponent1 Opponent2 Opponent3
Boston College Duke* N Carolina Louisville
Clemson Virginia Florida State
Duke Va Tech Charlotte
Florida State Miami* Notre Dame Pitt
Georgia Tech Louisville Pitt
Louisville Ga Tech Syracuse
Miami Clemson NC State
North Carolina B.C. Notre Dame
NC State Pitt Miami
Notre Dame Wake Forest* Florida State N Carolina
Pitt Syracuse* Florida State ACCCG
Syracuse Duke Louisville
Virginia Va Tech* Clemson Florida State
Virginia Tech Duke Clemson
Wake Forest Virginia* N Carolina
* byes created by cancelled games are marked with an asterisk

The first thing you probably notice is that some teams - thanks to those cancelled non-conference games - currently have three byes while others have only two. Since this is a Pitt website, you’ll also notice - if you haven’t already - that one of the Panthers’ three “byes” is actually the final week of the season. That was bound to happen to some team since there are an odd number of teams playing ACC football this season - unless someone played a non-conference game in the final weekend. That was never likely to happen, though, given the fact that the Big Ten isn’t playing at all, the SEC isn’t playing any non-conference games, and both the Big XII and the ACC are only playing home games out of conference.

However, even with the holes in the schedule, every team gets either two or three weeks off - a difference of only one week at most. A much bigger source of variation is the number of teams which get a bye before playing your team, which I’ve tabulated here:

Number of Opponents Coming Off Byes

Team Opp. Byes
Team Opp. Byes
Florida State 4
Clemson 3
Duke 3
Louisville 3
Pitt 3
Miami 2
Notre Dame 2
Syracuse 2
Virginia 2
Virginia Tech 2
Boston College 1
Georgia Tech 1
NC State 1
Wake Forest 1

The team getting the most-rested opponents is the Florida State Seminoles - nearly half of their ACC opponents are coming off a bye or a cancelled OOC game! The Clemson Tigers, Duke Blue Devils, Louisville Cardinals, North Carolina Tar Heels, and Pittsburgh Panthers all face three teams which aren’t scheduled to play the week before.

The Miami Hurricanes, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Syracuse Orange, Virginia Cavaliers and the Virginia Tech Hokies all get the prescribed two teams coming off byes. That is the number of byes originally baked into the schedule, after all.

However, there are four teams which only face a single opponent with extra rest: the Boston College Eagles, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, NC State Wolfpack and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. I don’t expect any of those to contend for a conference championship this year, but it’s certainly possible that they could upset a contender - particularly if they are the more rested squad.

By the way, some may take exception to my listing Pitt’s final bye before the ACC Championship Game. This is really a provisional bye - it only helps the Panthers if they actually end up playing for the conference football title, but if they do, you can be sure whoever they play will cry how unfair it is that Pitt players get an extra week to rest!

BOTTOM LINE: In a “normal” football season the ACC has guidelines designed to prevent uneven bye week distribution. However, this is no ordinary year, and neither is it a “normal” schedule. Hopefully bye weeks don’t decide anything important, but in 2020 I’ve learned not to be too quick to dismiss any possibility!